The 2012 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival will begin blooming soon. In just over a month the park will roll out its 19th festival and the third with HGTV as a sponsor. I think it’s been a great partnership and look forward to seeing what the combined forces can bring this year.
One of the highlights promises to be the Sorcerer Mickey topiary that’s part of the largest-ever Disney front-entrance topiary. There will be a stellar cast of HGTV design celebrities and a great line up of artists at the Flower Power concert series.
Here’s a sneak peek of this year’s festival news:
- The 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV runs March 7-May 20.
- Disney’s gardening magic goes a long way when an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary holds court in front of the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth. Standing atop a 12-foot-tall floral mountain cliff, Sorcerer Mickey directs a riot of color in the manicured shapes of dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and elephants straight from the classic Disney film, “Fantasia.” The scene pops with pink geraniums, white poppies, violet petunias, blue delphiniums and pansies.
- Twice daily each Friday through Sunday of the festival, HGTV designers and hosts share their insights on landscapes and design with Festival Center audiences. John Gidding of “Curb Appeal: The Block” kicks off the series March 9-11 with curb-appeal design tips for homeowners.
- Music fills each festival weekend when pop music hitmakers of the 1960s and ’70s rule the America Gardens Theatre stage with performances of their greatest songs. Jose Feliciano ignites the Flower Power concert series March 9-11 with his treasure trove of tunes. Two new festival acts are in store: Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night (April 27-29) and The Orchestra featuring former members of ELO and ELO Part II (May 4-6).
The front-entrance floral spectacle will welcome guests to a festival packed with new gardens and displays, featured speakers and hands-on fun for all ages, including daily gardening workshops with take-home projects for all who participate.
Thirty million blooms, 240 floating mini-gardens on two ponds, 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables, dozens of Disney character topiaries, 30 “flower towers” of impatiens and sweeping beds of original floral designs create a new tapestry of brilliant color across the 260-acre Epcot landscape. It takes more than one year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to plan and prepare for the 75-day festival.
Halfway through the festival, Disney gardeners remove the cold-hardy blossoms that thrive in March and early April to plant a new crop of flowers that flourish in spring’s warmer temperatures. And throughout the event, dozens of gardening experts meet guests daily with fresh landscape ideas for 2012. Daily workshops at the Festival Center let guests dig into projects they can take home at the end of the day.
- The Festival Center- Guests can shop for festival merchandise, attend demonstrations and get ideas and tips from master gardeners. In Future World between Universe of Energy and Mission:SPACE.
- Disney Gardening at Home presentations - Disney horticulturists and local experts like Robert Bowden of Harry P. Leu Gardens will share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on, take-home activity. At the Festival Center.
- Special Festival Weekend Celebrations - An Art in the Garden celebration of plein air artists is scheduled March 23-25; a Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists weekend presents indigenous insects that are part of our world; a Florida Federation of Garden Clubs gathering will be April 27-29; and a Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute is slated for May 4-6.
- Bambi’s Butterfly House, three times the size of the festival’s original, is a-flutter with multiple species of brilliant butterflies. At Imagination Walkway by Innoventions West.
- Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden - Fabulous Disney fairy topiaries alight to greet young fans who enter this whimsical garden designed with play structures for children ages 2-5. At the Test Track Walkway.
- The HGTV Designers Stage presents HGTV celebrities each Friday through Sunday and nationally recognized garden personalities Monday through Thursday. At the Festival Center.
- Flower Power concert series welcomes back 20th century pop favorites this year when Chubby Checker and The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Davy Jones and eight other bands rock the America Gardens Theatre with their timeless tunes. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Performers and appearance dates subject to change.
Join us below the fold for some topiary trivia:
The largest number of front-entrance topiaries ever, 1,000 brilliantly hued butterflies, 240 floating mini-gardens and 30 million blooms paint a landscape masterpiece at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort.
Among this year’s fun festival facts:
- 30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.
- The festival’s front-entrance Fantasia topiary scene comprises 28 topiaries - more than have been used in any front-entrance display. The 28 include Sorcerer Mickey, three ostriches, two hippos, two alligators, two elephants, nine stars, a spiral and eight mushrooms.
- 22,615 plant plugs of 15 plant varieties make up the Fantasia front-entrance topiary. They include reindeer moss for Sorcerer Mickey’s face and red begonias for his hat; creeping fig for Mickey, hippos and gators; Sweet Ayssum, and three shades of Lobelia simulate water spilling over a large topiary rock made up of Black Scallop Ajuga upon which the Sorcerer stands.
- 4,000 Blushing Bride air plants from Guatemala color the two hippos’ tutus and 300 Cotton Candy air plants from Peru feather the wings and tails of the three ostrich topiaries. Smaller air plants are used as ostrich slippers.
- 1,250 feet of quarter-inch irrigation tubing is woven into the Fantasia front-entrance topiaries.
- Dozens of additional Disney character topiaries represent the largest collection of Disney character topiary in the world and include classic film stars like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella and Tinker Bell.
- At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of additional festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation.
- 1,000 native butterflies represent up to 10 species at the expansive Bambi’s Butterfly House. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.
- More than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms installed for the festival.
- Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants.
- 150 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented.
- Thirty “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza.
- 240 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.
- 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.
- 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.
- It takes more than one full year and about 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival.
- The festival’s weekend Flower Power concert series includes 11 artists and groups known for more than 100 Top 40 hits. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s and ’70s include Jose Feliciano, Starship starring Mickey Thomas, The Guess Who, The Spinners, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night (NEW!), The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (NEW!), Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone and Davy Jones.